Saturday, 25 October 2014

#CoffinHop Day 2: Legends and Lore Spotlight

For Coffin Hop today, dear readers, we venture into the land of myth as I present a new anthology that I am privileged to be a part of, Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions. I have a spotlight, the book trailer, and I do quick review of the book. So enjoy...




Delve into myth and legend, where the Fates force post-modern man into a world of the unknown—a world long since dismissed as ignorant superstition.

Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

  • The Brother-Sister Fable by Alyson Grauer: a young boy disappears into a realm where only his sister can follow.
  • Faelad by Sarah Hunter Hyatt: Claire Whitaker didn’t even know she was Irish, let alone The Morrigan, the goddess of war.
  • By Skyfall by Emma Michaels: a mer-couple from Atlantis find themselves in the middle of a human murder investigation.
  • Charon’s Obol by. R. M. Ridley: Jonathan Alvey didn’t believe in gods, until he helps a lost child find her all-powerful parents.
  • Peradventure by Sarah E. Seeley: a jinni must choose between the woman he loves and destroying the city that persecuted her.
  • Natural Order by Lance Schonberg: when Carlos Vasquez is kidnapped, he discovers powers within himself to change the world.
  • Two Spoons by Danielle E. Shipley: A little girl’s soul meets its match in the family diner’s most mysterious patron.
  • Grail Days by A. F. Stewart: Living forever has its drawbacks, especially when you spend it clearing away the messes of other immortals.
  • Downward Mobility by M. K. Wiseman: they say love conquers all, but can it save a Valkyrie when she breaks all the rules?



Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

If you like your paranormal and urban fantasy chocked full of gods, goddesses, and legends then this anthology is a perfect fit. Nine talented authors bring ancient myth into the modern era, deftly mixing magic into our everyday reality and beyond. All the stories have a unique voice, from a touch of fairy tale in The Brother-Sister Fable to detective noir in Charon’s Obol (think Harry Dresden meets Phillip Marlowe for that one), and much, much more.
My favourite tale in this anthology (and that was a difficult choice) would have to be Two Spoons. I loved the soft, well-crafted atmosphere of the narrative and the setting, and the creative take the author used for a distinctive “deal with the devil” story.

Legends and Lore is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.


 Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportion


Charon’s Obol

She came further into the room and stood beside the chair on the other side of his desk.
“I just want to be with my mom and dad. Please, Mr. Alvey?”
“Why did you come to me, kid?”
“Because you’re my best hope of finding them.”
He leaned against the side of his desk.
“And why’s that?”
“Because you’re a magician,” she stated as calmly as one might when talking about the weather.
“Magicians pull rabbits out of their hats. I don’t own a hat.”
“Then, a sorcerer, wizard, conjurer—you’re a Magos, Mr. Alvey.”
He wondered how she knew the ancient Greek term. The accepted term for the past few centuries was practitioner, but what did names matter?
“There’s no such thing, kid,” he lied to her.
 “Sure there is,” she chirped.
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because you are one. It’s obvious to anyone who looks.”


Natural Order

Carlos hissed as the wound burned for a moment before a roar washed over his ears, a thousand years of wind rustling through the trees drowning a stream of curses from Megan. His vision narrowed to the string of blood extending from the wound, bulging at the bottom as it stretched, reaching for the stony beach below them. The second drop came faster, racing to catch the first. As the third slipped free, one joined it from Megan’s hand, the two drops striking rock together just before the leading edge of a wave licked high enough to catch them. The wave pulled back, tiny swirls of blood leaving with it.


Peradventure

Delilah stood rooted to the gritty mud floor of her hut with a mixture of awe and terror as a goliath of a creature with pointed, bat-like ears and glowing yellow orbs for eyes reached for her with a massive hand through the night’s darkness. That hand could have easily crushed her throat or broken her neck before she could think to scream. But she didn't scream. And the giant, claw-like fingers merely stroked back the hair that had fallen into her face.


Two Spoons

“What can I get you?” he asked.
The Black Man answered, “The girl.”
The pen over the notepad in Tidbit’s father’s hand paused in the air. “I don’t believe we have any girl on the menu.”


Grail Days

She waded back into the lake and slowly levitated above the surface until she hovered about three feet in the air. Above us, the sky darkened, the clouds turning the shade of soot, and the air thickened with the smell of ozone. Vivienne moaned, a hoarse, guttural sound, and began to spin violently. A whoosh of lake water ascended, sucked into a gyrating whirlwind, a waterspout funnel that surrounded her. Lightning flashed, the air temperature dropped, and the howling wind bent the trees. I could barely breathe, and I saw Morgan crouched nearly double.
Then the tempestuous weather ceased abruptly, and the sun warmed the cerulean sky again. Vivienne stopped whirling, and water plunged down in a cascading splash that sent a spray of mist over the shore. She faced us, her arms outstretched, and her eyes shone with an unnatural silver light. I knew she’d connected with . . . something.





Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions



On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson GrauerAlyson Grauer

Alyson Grauer is a storyteller in multiple mediums, her two primary canvases being the stage and the page. On stage, she is often seen in the Chicago area, primarily at Piccolo Theatre, Plan 9 Burlesque, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Her nonfiction work has been published in the “Journal for Perinatal Education” for Lamaze International. Her short fiction can be found in Tales from the Archives (Volume 2) for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and in one other anthology from Xchyler Publishing, Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology. Alyson is a proud graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and hails originally from Milwaukee, WI. Her debut novel, On The Isle of Sound and Wonder, will be released in November 2014 from Xchyler Publishing.

A Dash of Madness: A Thriller AnthologySarah Hunter Hyatt

Sarah Hunter Hyatt grew up outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. As a child, she kept notebooks of stories that she would share with her little sisters at bedtime. Now, an adult, her stories have matured but still occupy her thoughts (and notebooks). “Faelad” is Sarah’s second short story for Xchyler Publishing, her first being “Stunner” which appeared in A Dash of Madness: a Thriller Anthology. Along with writing, being a mom to three wonderful kids, and a wife to a patient husband, she also dabbles in graphic design.

Emma Michaels

Emma Michaels is a cover artist, blogger, and author of the Society of Feathers series. Her love of blogging started when she created a book blog in 2009 which gave her the courage to finally submit her own novels to publishers. Emma Michaels’ publications now include Owlet and Eyrie (Tribute Books), Holiday Magick Anthology (Spencer Hill Press), and Cirque d’Obscure Anthology, and Cogs in Time Anthology (Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly). To find out more stop by www.EmmaMichaels.com

Tomorrow Wendell, Book 1 of The White Dragon Black seriesR. M. Ridley

R. M. Ridley lives in rural Ontario on a small homestead, raising a menagerie of animals, including a flock of sheep and a swarm of foul. He has been writing stories, both long and short, for three decades, the themes of which range from the gruesome to the fantastical. As an individual who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, Ridley is a strong believer in being open about mental health issues because myths should be kept to stories. Ridley's first short story featuring Jonathan Alvey, "A Case for Custody," appeared in Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology (2013), followed by Tomorrow Wendell, Book 1 of the White Dragon Black series (2014). He has two works slated for release in 2015, including Books, Bourbon, and Blondes, an anthology of White Dragon Black short stories, and another full length novel, Book 2 of the White Dragon Black series.

Sarah Seeley

Through two wonderful mentored research experiences, Sarah E. Seeley had the opportunity to work with dead sauropods and ancient odonates while acquiring her undergraduate degree in geology from Brigham Young University. She hopes to study more dead things in the future and contribute to scientific discussions about what makes life on Earth so amazing. In the meantime, she explores the bright side of being human by writing dark fiction. Sarah’s independently published works include Maladaptive Bind and Blood Oath: An Orc Love Story. Another short story, “Driveless,” appears in “Leading Edge Magazine” Issue #66.
You can learn more about Sarah on her writing blog at www.SlithersOfThought.com.

Lance Schonberg

In the middle of lecturing one of his children on the importance of following dreams, Lance began to wonder why and when he’d stopped following his. Gathering up a few salvageable shreds of unfinished stories, he began his first novel. He’s written several novels and many shorter works in the years since, and has had twenty or so stories see publication. At any given moment Lance is working on a novel and at least one short story—probably more—most of which fall into the broad buckets of science fiction or fantasy.
Lance can be found lurking on his blog at www.lanceschoberg.com, on Twitter as @WritingDad, and sometimes even on his Facebook author page.

Danielle E. Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley's first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. . . . Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She's also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble.
Danielle blogs at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.

A. F. Stewart

A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A.F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being dark fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry and nonfiction. Stewart's first published work with Xchyler Publishing, "Our Man Fred," appeared in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology (2013).
SMechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthologytewart is fond of good books, action movies, sword collecting, geeky things, comic books, and oil painting as a hobby. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.

M. K. Wiseman

M. K. Wiseman is a librarian who recently decided that it would be fun to try her hand at the creation of books instead of mere curation. A 'method' writer, she likes to first try out the worlds that she builds. This has, admittedly, led to some strange results. (For example, she once elicited funny looks at her daily coffee shop by adopting a British accent for one day. We're all in trouble once she decides to write a space novel.) Wiseman's first short story for Xchyler Publishing, "Clockwork Ballet," appeared in Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology (2013).
In addition to the dozens of stories currently marinating on her hard drive, she maintains two blogs, Flying the Blue Pigeon and Millicent and Rue.

 Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

So that's all for me today, be sure to come back tomorrow for my annual Dark Poetry Corner; I have some delightfully dismal ones this year, plus a group poem.


And don't forget to check out the other Hoppers at http://coffinhop.com/ where you'll find the Official List. (Oh, and there's also my contest; one of the prizes is a paperback of Legends and Lore).




Friday, 24 October 2014

Crawl Out Of Your Graves, It’s #CoffinHop 2014

Welcome to the Dark Side!


It’s that time of year again, when the ghouls come out play and so do we horror writers. Yes, boys and girls it’s Coffin Hop Time

For those of you not in the know, here’s a brief explanation of what will unfold:  Every October a horde of horror writers get together for an annual event and turn the last week of the month into the spooky festival of terror called Coffin Hop. It is a Halloween and horror themed blog hop that runs from Oct. 24th until the 31st. We have stories, trivia, ghoulish delights, and tons of contests. You can check out the official rundown here: http://coffinhop.com/what-is-coffin-hop-2/

For my participation, I have daily posts planned, with two book spotlights, a dark poetry corner, an excerpt by guest writer Jennifer L. Gifford, a multi-author spotlight, some scary drabbles by guest author Michael Brookes, a interview with my character Balthazar, and a Poe inspired story for Halloween. In addition, my blog is part of Melissa Smith’s scavenger hunt, so be sure to check out her blog for details: http://melissasmithbooks.wordpress.com/

Plus, I’ll be running a Rafflecopter contest all week, with lots of great prizes (see the bottom of the post for the contest).

So that’s the scoop on Coffin Hop. And after you’ve read this post, you can pop over to http://coffinhop.com/ to find out who else is hopping by checking out the Linky list.




Now join in today’s devilish fun…

I’ve recently published my newest horror story collection, Killers and Demons II: They Return, a book that (as you may have guessed) focuses on villains. So today, I’m starting off the Hop with a book spotlight and a bonus Villain List.


Killers and Demons II: They Return




Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death.

Killers.
Demons.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.

Killers and Demons II:  They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.




The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his "cookie" of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane

And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…


Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.


Find the book at:

Kobo


Plus, download the first book in the series for free at Smashwords until Halloween:
Killers and Demons






On to the contest. I have three prizes up for grabs:

  • First Prize: An autographed (by me) paperback of Legends and Lore and Smashwords copies of Killers and Demons and Killers and Demons II
  • Second Prize: Mini potion bottles and a pouch
  • Third Prize: A Smashwords copy of Killers and Demons II: They Return 

(Note: There will a small delay in delivery of the Legends and Lore paperback, as it is being shipped to me from the publisher before it continues on to the winner.)

Here's some photos of the prizes:








Now here’s that added bonus, a quick list of some of my favourite sci-fi/fantasy/horror villains on TV:
  • Crowley (Supernatural): He’s the ever-so charming King of Hell, what more do you need?
  • White Walkers (Game of Thrones): In a show simply overflowing with nasty types, these guys are downright chilling (pun intended).
  • Hydra (Agents of Shield): What could be better than mad scientists and ruthless sleeper agents.
  • The Daleks (Doctor Who): One word – Exterminate.
  • The Headless Horseman/Henry Parish (Horseman of War)/Moloch (Sleepy Hollow): With this trio, the coming apocalypse is in very malevolent hands.
  • Samaritan/Greer (Person of Interest): Creepy AI and his handler that are puppet masters for human security and covert spy operations. Nothing could possibly go wrong there.
  • Hannibal Lector (Hannibal): Suave, elegant, and totally creepy.

Feel free to add your own villain to the list in the comment section. And be sure to pop back tomorrow for a peek at the Legends and Lore anthology, full of gods, mer-people, Valkyries, and my own contribution, Arthurian witches.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tomorrow Dawns Darkly! #CoffinHop Begins!



Yes my minions, you lovers of the ghastly and the ghoulish, another Coffin Hop commences tomorrow. This year I bring you more delightful dreadful treats of horror with a double theme of Myths and Villains.

This year’s agenda will bring frights and chills, terrors and thrills. I have in store for you:
  • Spotlights on my two latest books: Killers and Demons II: They Return and Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions.
  • Guest authors, bringing their stories, their books and their thoughts on horror
  • My annual dark poetry corner, with lots of dripping blood
  • A reluctant interview with Balthazar, everyone's favourite demon bounty hunter.
  • A Poe inspired tale for Halloween
  • A great contest.





So join in the horrific fun, and return here tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Released Today! Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

Today's the official release day for Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions, and the last day of the fabulous blog tour. My story, Grail Days (a modern day tale of Arthurian Legend), is part of this anthology, and I'm proud to be included with this group of fantastic stories and talented authors.

Here's a quick look at the book, and an interview with one of the authors, M. K. Wiseman.  Plus, you can check out the book over on the Xchyler Publishing page (along with any tour stops you might have missed):
http://www.xchylerpublishing.com/site.cfm/Our-Books/Legends-and-Lore.cfm 

And be sure to attend the book launch party over on Facebook starting at 7 PM Eastern. The authors will be there to chat, and there will be games and great prizes.

Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions

Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions


Delve into myth and legend, where the Fates force post-modern man into a world of the unknown—a world long since dismissed as ignorant superstition.


The Brother-Sister Fable by Alyson Grauer: A young boy disappears into a realm where only his sister can follow.

Faelad by Sarah Hunter Hyatt: Claire Whitaker didn’t even know she was Irish, let alone The Morrigan, the goddess of war.

By Skyfall by Emma Michaels: A mer-couple from Atlantis find themselves in the middle of a human murder investigation.

Charon’s Obol by. R. M. Ridley: Jonathan Alvey didn’t believe in gods, until he helps a lost child find her all-powerful parents.

Peradventure by Sarah E. Seeley: A jinni must choose between the woman he loves and destroying the city that persecuted her.

Natural Order by Lance Schonberg: When Carlos Vasquez is kidnapped, he discovers powers within himself to change the world.

Two Spoons by Danielle E. Shipley: A little girl’s soul meets its match in the family diner’s most mysterious patron.

Grail Days by A. F. Stewart: Living forever has its drawbacks, especially when you spend it clearing away the messes of other immortals.

Downward Mobility by M. K. Wiseman: They say love conquers all, but can it save a Valkyrie when she breaks all the rules?





Interview with M. K. Wiseman

How did the idea for this story come to you?
“Downward Mobility” actually grew out of a different story that had been rattling around my hard drive for a little under a year. What I ended up actually writing drew inspiration from my time working in a law firm. I guess I just let my imagination run with the idea of a very tired Valkyrie.

What makes your main character unique?
Honestly, I don't view Amelia as all that unique. While that may not come off as a ringing endorsement, it is nice to have a relatable, down-to-earth character. Even with her supernatural background, Amelia has a human boldness, humor and capacity for love with which we 'mere mortals' can identify. Perhaps a thousand years amongst our kind has given her more humanity than even she expected.

Is this part of a series?
Not at this time. Unless . . .  

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I'm still not sure I am one. :) In all seriousness though, I have always wanted to tell stories. Animation was actually my first love and writing simply grew out of that.

What have you written?
I've published “Downward Mobility” as well as another short story in Xchyler Publishing's Mechanized Masterpieces Steampunk Anthology. In the hopper: I've over a dozen longer works in various stages of completion and I maintain two active continuing story blogs.

What are you working on?
I'm currently trying to put the finishing touches on a rather massive steampunk/fantasy novel while also trying to work out the bugs on three different short stories. 

How do you write? Longhand, typewriter, laptop, tablet?
I write near everything longhand; little yellow legal pads in a leather carry case. (Yes, I now have an entire desk full of filled notepads.) I type everything into the computer later—generally creating more typos than if I'd started digital.

What is your writing zone and how do you get there?
The zone is whenever I write and the results aren't total garbage. The aforementioned yellow legal pads have scores of pages with lines through sections I have deemed 'unworthy' of seeing the light of day. Sometimes the act of writing is just getting pen on paper, while other days the results are pure magic and I know I have found my groove.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The time spent. It really does take massive amounts of time. 

What’s the easiest thing about writing?
The ideas. When I started out I had one idea and worried that it was all my brain was ever going to produce. Then I had another idea, and then another one . . . which, of course, leads directly to the hardest thing about writing for me. ;)

What are you currently reading?
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Fantastic book.

Do you prefer reading eBook or paperback?
I have a Nook and have sometimes read on my phone but prefer paperback.

What advice do you have for fellow writers?
Keep at it! Embrace what creative avenues your brain goes down and be true to yourself. Don't write a thing just because it's in style, write it because you'd love to read it, because the world needs that story. (Oh, and the librarian in me says: read a lot!)








Saturday, 18 October 2014

Break Out The Ghouls And The Goblins...

Starting October 24th and running to the 31st, Halloween itself, this blog will once again join the ranks of the undead, the vampiric, walk with the zombies, and dance with the devil in the pale moonlight to embrace the chills and the thrills of the one the only...

Coffin Hop